Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yearbook photos...

I know, they're awful! However, here is a great site that allows you to yearbook yourself.

No, that's not my mom, that's me!

Have a great time! And a great laugh!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What does it mean?

When people tell you, I know you're busy...what does that mean? Over the past several weeks, I've noticed several people use that comment with me. My mentor and I haven't been able to connect lately and when she left me a message, she said, "I know you're busy." My parents use that comment about me too.

And while sometimes it may be true, I think the bigger question is, what am I busy with? Food for thought...

Joys of Being Single - Investing

What did I do this weekend? I attended a high school football game where I sat in the student section for the first two quarters. Why? I was hanging out with my small group girls before the game (how cool - we got to pray together for one girl who has a huge decision in her life) and as we headed in, they told me just to come and hang out with them. Why not? I felt a little awkward hanging out with them during the game as more and more of their friends gathered together, but they all seemed excited to have me stand with them at the game. And one of our girls won Homecoming Queen!!! I'm so proud!

Saturday night brought senior night for the boys' soccer team. I have had the pleasure of watching these boys over the past four years and able to watch one who is like my little brother. And by the way, I was on my tiptoes when taking this picture...he has grown in four years!!!

So why is being single a joy today? Because I can invest my time into these kids who I will be able to have a relationship with for years and be a part of their lives. I've been amazed at how honest they are (which comes with building a friendship with them).

A couple of months ago, I was paid the highest compliment. One of my girls, who is now in college, began to teach a small group on Sundays for the summer. She told me she was becoming me to them...that's what it's all about. Investing in others so they see the benefits and they, in turn and in time, invest in others and so begins the cycle.

Yes, there are days where I truly desire to be in a relationship, but then there are days where I am so grateful of the time I have invested in these students. They truly are an amazing group!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My New Notebook

I have included a photo of the cover of my NEW writer's notebook. I am soooooo excited...why? 1) I found the title of my blog, 2) my new outlook on life is totally reflected in the cover (the lifting, quotes, and shoes), 3) I was able to create it while working with my students and they ended up getting some great ideas too! I blurred out where I had my last name...tradition (the name not the blurring).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sharing Circle

I have the students gather together at the end of workshops for a sharing circle (most days). I'm trying something new this year...I start by asking the student next to me if they have anything to share and then they answer with a yes or no thank you. As they go around the circle, the amount of respect that is shared is wonderful! It's so cute to hear them say, "Yes I do" or "No thank you, Bob." Students have been sharing their connections this week as they read. They've even been reading for almost 30 minutes by themselves...LOVING IT! Now if only I can get a video camera to tape them...

I notice that this class continues to use excuse me as they move through the room and around people. And today, I created a new writer's notebook cover...really excited to upload a picture of it later.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


One of my favorite shows is the Biggest Loser! One, I connect well with losing weight and two, it makes me happy to see others making positive changes in their lives. Just heard a great quote - "Feel the fear. Do it anyways." - Jillian

Makes me want to go and run!!! Yes!!!

And btw, Stacey and Ruth, I'm going to put this in my writer's notebook (well probably my new one) under quotes since I'll have the kids on the lookout for great quotes themselves!

And other quotes as I'm watching the show -

"I ate until I could feel something." - contestant

"I'm looking for change." - Jillian

"So unless you faint, puke, or die, KEEP WALKING." - Jillian

What I've Learned...and what others have learned about me.

Today had to have been one of the most embarrassing! I was running at the gym and while I was there, nature called. It normally does when I run. So, I did what I had to do and then I sprayed. As I left the bathroom, I hopped back onto the treadmill and began to run again. Well...apparently some smell wafted out and one of the guys at the gym made a comment about what I did in there. If I could have crawled under the equipment, I would have. There were only three other guys there while I was...but oh wow. I don't think my face has ever been so red before. - Lesson learned...spray, wait, waft it around, and spray once more to make sure no smell lingers.

I earned two blisters this weekend during a run. While working out yesterday, they opened a bit. Today, they bled! I wrapped them again (and was noted by one of the guys at the gym that I looked like I had grandma socks on - I guess I should be flattered he was still looking at me - see story above) and finished my run and lifting. I took the wraps off and decided to use the liquid bandage I had bought from CVS. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.
I don't think I have ever felt such pain from putting it on an open flesh wound. Lesson learned - do not put liquid bandage on open wounds unless you feel like yelling and making a fool of yourself.

I'm glad I can laugh at myself and I guess that I can say that the guys officially think I'm one of them. :)

What do you think?

Do any other teachers, during their sharing circle, notice most of the time that students start with, "When Miss **** conferenced with me..."

We've been discussing text to self connections and I am excited to see how the students are already referencing the text (plus I modeled it and then had a student "teach" it). Tomorrow, we get to chat as I read and have them share text to self connections as I read. Soooooo exciting!!!

A funny for you - we are studying the different habitats and my students cannot remember the word temperate. They are calling the it the temporary forest. Oh well...

Today was an exciting moment when I was going over with a student about why she missed what she did on a quiz about small moment stories. She couldn't tell me how writers plan. I asked my class if they felt they were a strong writer, then could they speak with * about her question. I had four students pop over and after she asked they rattled (and I mean rattled) off sticky notes, in your head, on your hand, talk it out, write it on the top of your paper and boxes. Yay!!! Now I just have to make sure they continue to use planning as a great way to organize their ideas!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I gave a quiz on Friday...I was so excited. I asked the writers questions about our small moment unit. One of the question was to tell me two ways a writer can plan. They knew the answers! I am showing one way that a writer in my class planned. However, after I left her, she ended up putting the details she was supposed to continue in the draft on more sticky notes for the second page. I conferenced with her again on Friday to explain what she needed to do. I am excited that in the first unit for writing workshop, I have strong writers who know the benefit of a good plan!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Coming...

Today in class, I feel like the elements of our workshops are coming together. One of my boys brought in a dictionary/thesaurus and we were able to talk about that and look up the word belfry, because it came up in our sharing circle discussion. The students are loving finding "buddy" books (multiple copies of books for our partner reading time). Two of my boys were reading the black lagoon books which led to multiple meaning word discussions. I love this!!!

Then as if that wasn't enough, during the afternoon I read Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon. One of my boys predicted and I tried to shush him (shame on me). I then named what he did and as we read (cause I didn't want him to give away the ending if he had heard it). He made a comment that he was right about part of it and I pitched in with that the author tricked him on parts. That led to a discussion about why thinking isn't wrong, it just is sometimes not what the author had in mind and tricked us.

I'm sure there will be more discussions during the year.

BTW, when we were looking at the dictionary, there was an atlas. The boy was trying to find China and one of my girls chipped in with, "There's Indiana...Indiana....Indiana." I was shocked that she could see the formation of Indiana in North America. I looked a little closer...yep, she found India. :)

Writing Wednesday

wanting to punch
to kick
to fight

His decisions
His timing
His will

not mine

if I got my desire
will it truly satisfy?

He’s not santa
He’s not a genie
and intimately
He’s good…


down the rights
that I think I’m entitled to
and wait.

- by me

Monday, September 8, 2008


"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become" (Pericles).

I stole this from my friend's! What a great quote...this will be going in my writer's notebook. Thoughts anyone?

I know for myself, certain areas are harder to surrender than others. But the chance of what I could that should outweigh the fears I have in surrendering.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Funness - not a word - I know!

I added a voting gadget...just to have some fun and a traffic feed to see who looks at my blog...I am excited about the new things I added. Let me know what questions you think I should have for my voting...


I seriously am becoming sick to my stomach as I try and plan for the week. Our school was finally able to qualify for Title 1 and while I am excited at the extra help our students will get, my heart aches for what needs to occur in my classroom. I wish I would have had better thoughts at our planning meeting and while our principal says it is not set in stone yet (I talked with her on Friday), I need to figure out what to do. I normally start my morning with reading workshop and then follow with writing workshop. I am blessed to have preps mostly in the afternoon and can devote a huge chunk the way a workshop should go. However, since I am having two groups being pulled at two different times, there are some mornings where I will need to rearrange and put off our workshops because of all things, reading and writing are two subjects these students shouldn't be pulled from. Title 1 should be in addition to, not in replace of something in my classroom. Right now as it stands, I am thinking they will miss some of the math lesson (which I'll teach individually later to them) and possibly our Accelerated Math program and sometimes our working with words.

I am hoping that we can get together as a primary group and come up with a better solution to some of the problems we see with the current schedule and make changes to support teachers, students, and the wonderful people that will be working with our students. More info will come to let you know how it goes...I'm praying that something can be done so my two groups can be turned into one group that gets serviced by two teachers at once...we'll see. One day at a time, right?


I greet each child at the beginning of our day at our Morning Meeting. I help the students learn new language and respect at the same time. One of my students told me that she knew how to say good morning in Spanish. She greeted me and then I greeted her back and had a great idea all at once. I asked if she would greet each child. It was wonderful. She greeted everyone and they greeted her. I smiled a huge smile on the inside.

Another one of my students has been using his microscope to "scope" out words as he calls it. I'm trying to figure out how I can use this in our reading workshop! He uses the microscope to zoom in on words and magnify them...if you have any ideas, let me know. I'm thinking something to do with noticing great words for vocabulary!


I have been reading What Great Teachers Do Differently by Todd Whitaker. One of the biggest things that has jumped out is the way I should be treating my students. I have tried implementing one technique into my classroom where instead of focusing on the negative behavior done by a few, I let the majority of the kids know I see their behavior. For example, instead of saying, "You are too loud in the hallway" (when it was just a few kids), I'm trying to say, "I appreciate those of you who used our low voices in the hallways." Also, when I'm teaching and kids are talking when they shouldn't, I say, "I appreciate those of you who are tuned into the lesson." It's just a small change, but I've seen some differences take place because of it. Mostly with my thinking and my mannerisms with the class.

Another realization with the book is to treat each child like their parent was in the room. Imagine the amount of respect I would be giving each child!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hooking my students...

Okay, so this class is definitely different than last year. While they use their manners (excuse me and sorry), unfortunately, they have not learned to use a Kleenex instead of digging :)

Well, to compensate this, I have a Oh Yuck! book. Well, there is a whole section about mucus, so I read it to them. And while the girls covered their ears and figured they would throw up, the boys had a grand old time. My boys this year are a bit more rambunctious (in a good way - besides who wants quiet personalities???), so I figure learning about some yucky topics might hook them a bit more. They really want to hear the section about blood...we'll see what day that section is read. Talk about building schema!!!

Woo hoo!

For anyone who is a Big Brother fan, I LOVE the show. And I love Dan...I am so happy that Memphis won the pov and used it on Dan...these are the times that I wish I lived with someone else to share in my excitement...guess the blogging world will have to do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Slice of Life...Almost

Today marked the first day I could work out in September in the gym...and so began the challenge. Every month I am going to truly check how strong I am. After tutoring, I walked into the gym in my beautiful Old Navy skirt...and a gorgeous orange colored shirt to compliment it. I quickly changed, warmed up on the treadmill for five minutes, strapped on my black and pink gloves, popped the ear buds in and began shuffling my songs to find an inspirational pump me up song.

I decided on Healer from Casey Darnell's cd (it's a song that reminds me how Jesus is my ultimate Healer). I walked over to the pull-up machine. I grip the handle, raise myself, get my bearing and start lowering myself down. Not too far, I keep thinking (cause I have to try and get my body back up). As I lower about halfway, I decide it's time to try and go up. I begin the tremendous task of pulling myself up. I am grunting and sweating, but I try and kick my feet and bring them up a little and as I do, I feel my body begin to go higher. My chin just barely made it up to the bar and I let go. I become a bit undignified and start jumping up and down and air high-fiving no one. I almost just did a full pull-up with NO assistance. Woo hoo! It's the most I have ever pulled myself up and while it may not be the "perfect" pull-up, my personal trainer is still counting it as one. Good thing he is, because I surely am!

And for those who care, I am still working on a dip, but my bent arm hang went from 10 seconds to 12 seconds (and that's only 11 days later from trying it the first time). Next month, check in again...the goal - one pull-up, one dip, and longer than 12 seconds.